Google is sunsetting Conversational Actions in favor of App Actions
Five years ago, Google introduced us to Conversational Actions which allowed developers to create products centered around the smart screen such as the Nest Home Hub. Now Google is moving away from Conversational Actions in favor of App Actions as a way to move forward in the smart assistant space. Conversational Actions will be sunset in June of 2023.
The most common iteration of this came about in the Nest Home Hub’s Stories and Games feature that could play a game or read a story such as a bedtime story. In a briefing with XDA, Rebecca Nathanson Director of Product from the Assistant Integration Developer Platform, noted that based on analytics and feedback from users and developers, Google has decided App Actions “is the best path forward for delivering the biggest ROI for developers.” Nathanson continued, “One of the things that we’ve heard from our users is that while voice-first is a great addition to the world of technology when it’s detached from all the other ways that users interact with the services and apps that they’re already familiar with and love and use on a daily basis, it’s not nearly as compelling for them. At the same time, we heard from developers that it’s challenging to create a voice experience using conversational actions as a standalone product. You have to start from scratch every single time.”
Long live App Actions
App Actions have also been around since 2019 and allow Google Assistant to execute functions from within an app, such as checking on delivery or sending money. Developers can use App Actions to work with their apps. This gives them a framework to build a better voice experience using the app they already know, rather than having to start from scratch.
Also, Google looks to expand App Actions across as many Android canvases as it can so developers can have Assistant interactions on phones, tablets, watches, cars, and more. “By shifting developers to working on the massive canvas that is Android, they have far more opportunity to capture users’ eyeballs and capture users’ hearts via these mechanisms that we can offer to them,” Nathanson said.
Bottom line, if you’re a developer, App Actions are the way forward from this point on. If you’re a user, according to the analytics you probably weren’t using Conversational Actions anyway, so just carry on.